In a my previous post, We’re All Heroes in Some Capacity, I outlined the major steps in the monomyth presented by Joseph Campbell. Although I can’t force you to read it prior to diving into this one, I would highly encourage it. So go ahead. I’ll wait.
Done? Perfect. Let’s proceed.
One specific portion of the journey that I think really stumps certain individuals is the Refusal of the Call. Sure, getting all fit and everything sounds good, but when it actually comes down to breaking a sweat and lifting some weights, it becomes too much. That leaves people in a gaping pit of despair wallowing in tears. They genuinely want to make a change, but it just seems so damn hard to implement everything at once. So, instead of giving it a go, they crawl back inside their shell and hibernate. For some, it takes a really huge push to get over the hump and start moving. That push could come from several parties: your significant other, your doctor, friends, kids, or even yourself. “The Call to Action” can look like you bent over huffing and puffing at your kid’s soccer game. It can look like a doctor’s appointment that didn’t go so well. Whatever the scenario, that one instance often isn’t enough.
In order to kick into gear, you often need to go through a big moment. The type of life-changer that flips the switch, but sometimes even that isn’t enough. Sure, not being able to keep up with your kids like the other parents is a big deal, but it isn’t THAT big of deal. You can live with it.
Take, for instance, the number of individuals that go to the doctor every day and get some slightly negative blood work back. “Your cholesterol is too high and HDL is too low. I would suggest some exercise and cleaning up your diet,” are typical words uttered in the doctor/patient get-together. But, I’d be willing to guess that this approach works around 30-40% of the time (and that’s being generous). Why don’t people heed advice from their doctor? Why don’t they WANT to be better for their kids?
I believe it comes down to feasibility. Changing life-long habits is a big ordeal for someone that has never exercised. Joining the gym and eating healthy all in one week is a major change that often scares people into paralysis. They want to make a change but just can’t.
In order to get past the Refusal of the Call, several changes are necessary to make the movement stick.
Step #1: Realize the Importance of Your Journey
How is this going to benefit you in the long run? If you’re Batman and the city of Gotham is about to be leveled by a crazy dude wearing a mask, the benefits to you succeeding seem pretty straight forward – the whole save the city, get the girl ordeal. If you’re looking to drop a few pounds or run a little more, the outcomes aren’t as readily obvious.
So, sit down and make a list of everything that you would like to accomplish. Do you want to run a 5k or add on 10 lbs of muscle? I don’t care what the goal is, just right it down. Beside each line, write down how this is going to change your life. Running a 5k could give you more stamina to play with your kids. Adding muscle may give you more confidence in other aspects of life.
It’s crucial that you identify exactly why this journey, these steps, are important to you. Otherwise, they chance that you’ll actually go through with them is somewhat slim.
Often times, the importance of the journey is what motivates individuals to push past the hard parts and get on with the work. With the world on your shoulders, you’d be surprised how much you can accomplish.
Step #2: Map Out a Plan
Heroes often go into the throws of battle without any kind of game plan – but then again, they have superpowers. Any other successful hero – one that’s actually mortal – outlines a plan prior to jumping into the fire. Once you’ve outlined why this particular journey is important, figure out your road map on how to get there.
Identify the major aspects of your life that need to change in order for this journey to be successful. It could be the food part or it could be the exercising portion. It could be both. Just like planning out a huge vacation, draw a map detailing every individual step and the stops along the way. Which road markers are you going to celebrate?
Step #3: Find Your Gang
All of the cool heroes have a click that follows them around. Batman has Robin. Harry has Hermoine and Ron. Quailman has Skeeter. Who do you have in your arsenal for a support crew?
The gang, or posse if you will, serves a very important purpose – to keep your ass on track. It’s easy to fall off the wagon when no one is keeping you honest. Sam kept Frodo from falling prey to the temptations of the ring and also saved his life a few times. You need someone that has your back.
Hopefully, these groupies include at least one person that you consider a mentor, someone you look up to as a source of guidance. It helps along the way to have a role model. The rest of the team should be comprised of guys or gals that understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. Otherwise, they won’t be a very good asset when the road gets bumpy.
Step #4: Grab Your Sword
No hero movie is complete without certain elements like a proper get-up and a weapon with magical powers. In some cases, the hero is the magical power. Your journey isn’t complete without the proper tools necessary to achieve whatever the heck you’re looking to do. If it’s a running-related adventure, you’re probably going to need a good set of shoes. If it’s a weight loss type of party you’re headed to, you may want to enlist the help of a few cookbooks to make healthy eating a little more pleasant for your palette.
Only you know where your headed and what it takes to get there. Make sure you have all of the gear necessary to make it the entire way.
Step #5: Get a Move On
Stop wasting time already and get a move on. You have all of the pieces in place. You are pursuing something that has a huge importance. You have the map in hand, your trusty [insert favorite object here], and you’re flanked by groupies. Hit the road.
No use wasting time. The scary part is directly ahead of you. Take the plunge and just get started on whatever you’re looking to achieve. You have all of the tools necessary.
Where do you get hung up along the way? What stands in your way of achieving whatever you want to achieve? Thoughts below!